Remember that game telephone? Where there is a group of people and the first person whispers a phrase or word in the next person’s ear? They pass it on and then they pass it on and the last person says the word or phrase? Except the word or phrase has changed dramatically because of the thing that happens when people who are different in perception and nature interpret something. So the word starts off as “kite” but ends up as “bus” and everyone is looking at each other side-eyed trying to figure out where the breakdown happened. I mean how do you get bus from kite? They don’t even have a similar vowel. Anyways I bring this up because it seems like my life is lot like this game these days. Only it’s a lot more annoying to be misunderstood or misheard or misperceived in real life. Because in real life misunderstandings cause broken relationships, career hindrances and a lot of other more serious consequences.
One of the benefits of being in a community of people who have known you for some time (or even know you by the spirit for a short time) is that they know you. That means they know your sense of humor, they know your intentions, they know your character. But if someone doesn’t know you then one unassuming sentence can be mistaken as an insult or an attitude. And that can be pretty hurtful if that is not your personality. I think misperceptions of others can happen so easily and they probably happen all the time with strangers. We judge and watch and go about our way having an opinion on someone who didn’t chastise their screaming child in public who was throwing a tantrum (or maybe this is just me?) or a couple who is making out in public with no shame. We sum up people as a whole based on one incident or a few short interactions and think we have them down but our judgment is based on past experience of others who may look like them, sound like them or think like them, not necessarily on them. We live off stereotypes and repeat the distorted truth of those stereotypes in the secrecy of our thoughts or the boldness of our lips.
I was frustrated that I was misunderstood. I was hurt and I was angry. Thankfully I received peace when someone who knew me (a few someone’s actually) was able to say, “Nicole, that’s not you”. These people knew my character, they knew my ways, and they knew my intent. I was blessed when my friend was able to read what I had written the way I intended it to be read. It is an affirming thing for a writer when the reader gets what the writer is saying. But I was reminded that even when those who do know me, who I do love and who I do look up to, misunderstood my intent, well I was reminded that they too are fallen. They too are human. They too miss the mark.
But there is One who knows me through and through. He knows my ways and He knows my heart. He knows my intentions and He knows my thoughts.
There is no misunderstanding with Him. When you say “kite” He hears “kite”. And when you say “bus” He hears “bus”. And that truth gave me great comfort when I felt disheartened from being misunderstood.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.